November 18, 2011

Breaking the Good News to all sorts of readers

An article on the Internet this week talked about reasons young people no longer see the need to worship God in the churches in which they were religiously raised. Another article wondered about weird weather and natural disasters rising from global warming, while others warned of objects falling from space or spoke of the fall of politicians, sports heroes, and people who previously proclaimed themselves as parts of the Body of Christ.

What’s going on here? The economy seems frozen, families broken, and dreams of betterment crushed, but what can a Christian writer do?

Listen

Get comfortable. Get quiet. Pray, “Come, Holy Spirit.” Empty your thoughts. Quiet your mind. Give God a chance to speak to you. How? However, God chooses! Most likely, this may be through an impression, vision, inspired thought, or sudden recollection of a word from the Bible that seems especially timely, relevant, and well-balanced by a full, sweeping view of Holy Scripture.

Notice

Notice your reactions to people, ads, news, sermons, events. What troubles you? For instance, do you feel grieved, as I do, when you hear someone bad-mouth God, Christ, and Christianity? Do you wonder, as I do, what Jesus thinks of the bickering and “gang rivalry” that occurs between churches and among individual Christians? Do you notice a recurring problem you might effectively address in a poem, article, book, or Bible story that relates well to your contemporary concern?

Identify

To whom do you want to speak? If children, are you particularly drawn to a particular age group? If adults, do you feel a stronger connection with young people, middle-aged readers, retirees, or elderly seniors? Do you interact with prospective readers often enough to know what’s typically on their minds, in their emotions, and under their feet?

Focus

When you know the persons to whom you most want to speak, think about the topic or theme you most want to discuss. Then sharpen your focus as you identify the goal or purpose of a manuscript you plan to write. i.e., What do you want your poem, fiction, or nonfiction to accomplish? Do you want to make people think? Do you hope to encourage faith? Do you see yourself as an evangelizer whose writings can coax non-Christians to Christ? Or do you hope to write in any and all genres as a healer, mediator, and body-builder for the Body of Christ?

As you aim to write words that inspire all sorts of readers, bring hope, and help others to see the Good News of Jesus Christ as active in and relevant to their lives, prayerfully…

Consider

In what ways might the Kingdom of God and the Will of God attract our readers?

In what ways might the church adapt to a changing culture and widen its world view?

In what earthly ways can we take the first command in Genesis 1:28 to tend and subdue the earth as relevant to godly treatment of the environment? (Hint: “Dominate” does not mean “domineer,” and “subdue” does not mean to put down but to pacify, soothe, calm, and make peaceable.)

In what ways can we write to encourage readers to take the “wreck” out of recreation and put godly acts into action?

In what appealing ways might Judeo-Christian values be presented as desirable standards to the disinterested or un-churched?

In what way can our writings bring light to true love for God, one another, and “those people” we don’t relate to or even like?

In what winsome ways can we accurately, intelligently, empathetically, and lovingly break the Good News to our readers?

~~

© 2011, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.

~~